Many of my clients ask me to give them my personal tips when I travel to Disneyworld. I hope you can take some of them and use them for your magical memories with your family.
Disney World is one of the most popular and magical vacation destinations in the world, but it can also be overwhelming, expensive and exhausting if you don’t plan ahead. As a Disney fan and frequent visitor, I want to share some of the best tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years to help you make the most of your trip to the happiest place on earth.
The first thing you need to decide is when to go to Disney World. There are pros and cons to every season, depending on your preferences, budget and availability. Generally speaking, the best times to go are when the crowds are lower, the weather is milder and the prices are cheaper. These are usually in January, February, September and early December.
However, you also need to consider other factors, such as special events, holidays, park hours, refurbishments and promotions. For example, if you want to experience Halloween or Christmas at Disney World, you’ll have to deal with higher crowds and prices, but you’ll also enjoy festive decorations, shows and treats. If you want to avoid long lines and hot weather, you’ll have to sacrifice some park hours and attractions that may be closed for maintenance.
Once you’ve decided when to go, you need to plan what to do. Disney World has four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom), two water parks (Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon), a shopping and entertainment district (Disney Springs) and dozens of resorts. You can’t possibly see and do everything in one trip, so you need to prioritize your must-dos and be realistic about your time and energy.
A good way to start is by researching the attractions, shows, restaurants and experiences that interest you the most in each park.
Make advance dining reservations for any table-service restaurants you want to try, especially the popular ones. You can book them up to 60 days in advance online or by phone.
Take advantage of FastPass+, which allows you to reserve a time slot for up to three attractions per day in advance. You can book them up to 60 days in advance if you’re staying at a Disney resort or 30 days in advance if you’re staying off-site.
Use single rider lines or rider switch options if you’re travelling solo or with a group that has different ride preferences.
Arrive early at the parks and take advantage of the extra magic hours if you’re staying at a Disney resort. You’ll be able to enjoy lower crowds and shorter waits for the first few hours of the day.
Take a midday break at your hotel or resort to rest, recharge and avoid the peak heat and crowds. You can return to the parks later in the afternoon or evening when it’s cooler and less busy.
Be flexible and adaptable. Things may not go according to plan due to weather, technical issues or unexpected events. Don’t let that ruin your day. Have a backup plan or just go with the flow.
Disney World is not cheap, but there are ways to save money on your trip without compromising on quality or fun. Here are some of the best tips to save money on your Disney World vacation:
Stay off-property. You can find cheaper accommodations outside of Disney World that still offer great amenities and convenience. You can also save on parking, resort fees and food by staying off-site.
Buy discounted tickets. You can save money on your park tickets by buying them from authorized resellers or using special offers. Avoid buying tickets from unofficial sources or scalpers, as they may be invalid or fraudulent.
Bring your own food and drinks. You can save a lot of money by bringing your own snacks, water bottles and meals to the parks. Disney allows you to bring any food and drinks that are not alcoholic or in glass containers. You can also use the free ice water service at any quick-service restaurant or refill your water bottles at the water fountains or bottle refill stations.
Use secret menus and lounges. You can enjoy some delicious and unique food and drinks at Disney World without paying a fortune by using secret menus and lounges. These are off-menu items or locations that offer cheaper or more creative options than the regular menus or restaurants. Here are some of the best secret menus and lounges at Disney World:
Nomad Lounge at Animal Kingdom
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Polynesian Village Resort
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom
'Ohana Noodles at Tambu Lounge at Polynesian Village Resort
The most important tip for travelling to Disney World is to have fun and make memories. Don’t let the stress, pressure or expectations ruin your trip.
Remember that you’re there to enjoy yourself, not to check off a list of things to do. Be open to new experiences, surprises and magic. Take lots of pictures, but also live in the moment. Laugh, smile, cry, scream and sing along. Be a kid again, or bring out your inner adult. Whatever you do, make it your own.
I hope these tips help you plan and take an amazing trip to Disney World. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to leave them below. I’d love to hear from you.